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different, so you will need to create a bottom under the tank. You can circu- solution for your site, weather and terrain. late water from the culvert into the tank Below are some ideas: with a separate low-wattage solar-pow- 1. Pump water into a large enclosed storage ered pump. This system requires a battery tank at a higher elevation. You should bank to allow for night use. You will need insulate the tank in some way, bury it to put the batteries in a non-freezing area, or mound dirt around it. If the tank perhaps on a platform above the water is exposed, paint it black to absorb the level in the culvert. sun’s heat during the day. From the stor- 6. You can use a special in-tank propane age tank, run a buried line to supply heater to keep water from freezing. the watering tanks by gravity and con- trol this ﬂow with a ﬂoat valve. You may 7. Innovative producers have experimented want to use a thermostatically controlled with building solar-heated air or water ﬂoat valve that opens when temperatures collectors on their tanks. A system such drop below a certain point. You can posi- as this uses the sun’s heat to keep the tank tion some of these valves to direct water from freezing. around the outside of the watering tank 8. Another way to use propane is to run aRelated ATTRA to keep water open for stock. You can alsopublications quarter-inch copper tube from the regu- pump water into the storage tank during lator into the water tank and crack thePaddock Design, the day so that it will continuously trickle propane valve open slightly, just enoughFencing, and into the watering tank at night and on to allow small bubbles to ﬂow from theWater Systems for cloudy days. The watering tank will need tube. The bubbling action will keep waterControlled Grazing an overﬂow drain-ﬁeld. open at the spot it emerges from the tube.Solar-Powered 2. If a storage tank is not an option, you can A propane tank will last over a month ifLivestock use a solar pumping system to ﬁll the water- used in this manner. The livestock watererWatering Systems ing tank directly during the day. Make can be placed in a location where the pro-Renewable Energy a small hole that allows the tank to drain pane can be easily dispersed by the windOpportunities slowly at night to keep water moving. to prevent an accumulation of propaneon the Farm 3. You can use large heavy equipment tires gas. A propane bubbler can be constructed as watering tanks. These help keep water for about $90 from materials acquired at open since they are black and absorb a hardware store. If you have an old pro- heat from the sun. They are also ﬂexible pane bottle, you can have it ﬁlled and save enough not to crack if freezing occurs. about half of the cost. These tires are often free and are very Materials list tough and can take abuse from animals. Item: Approximate cost: 4. Much of the heat loss from a watering 20-pound $60 to $90, new tank occurs at the surface of the water. propone tank You can reduce this heat loss consider- ably by placing an insulated cover over a Regulator $10 to $15 large part of the surface area of the tank. Adaptor ﬁttings (2) $5 Provide openings around the edge where Copper tubing, length cut as animals can drink. You can also insulate ¼ inch necessary the sides of watering tanks with insula- tion material, sawdust or wood chips. Par- Adaptor fittings tially burying a watering tank, or berm- These ﬁttings go on each side of the regu- ing it with earth, takes advantage of the lator and connect the bottle valve to the ground’s warmth to prevent freezing. regulator and the regulator to the tubing. 5. Another way to make use of underground The ﬁtting from the bottle valve to the warmth is to install a culvert with a sealed adaptor will have a large, reverse-threadPage 2 ATTRA Freeze Protection for Livestock Watering Systems
male gas ﬁtting on one side (to match from trampling and damaging the bottle, the internal threads on the bottle valve) regulator or tubing. and a tattered pipe thread ﬁtting on the other side. The pipe thread will be a male Energy-free livestock waterers thread, ¼ or ⅜ inches in nominal pipe A variation on water systems is to use an size. The adaptor fitting that connects insulated livestock waterer in the manner the regulator to the tubing will be a ¼- suggested by the government of Alberta’s or ⅜-inch male pipe thread on one side, Agriculture and Food program. This pro- which corresponds to the female threads gram has tested low-input, energy-free live- in the regulator. The regulator will have stock water delivery and heating technology an arrow pointing in the direction of ﬂow that relies on geothermal heat to keep water stamped onto the regulator body. On the open during cold weather, as low as -15 other side of the ﬁtting will be a ¼- or ⅜- degrees Fahrenheit (AFMRC, 1994). For a inch compression ﬁtting to connect to the report on the construction, use and mainte- tubing (depending on the size of tubing nance of the energy-free system, see the pub- you choose). lication Energy Free Water Fountains from It is recommended that you construct a Alberta Agriculture and Food at www1. protective device to cover the tank and agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/ shield the tubing, and to keep livestock eng3133/$ﬁle/706.pdf?OpenElement.ReferencesAlberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Alberta Build it Solar. Build it Solar, a Renewable Energy SiteFarm Machinery Research Centre (AFMRC). 1994. for Do-it-yourselfers. www.builditsolar.com/Projects/Energy Free Water Fountains. www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/ WaterHeating/water_heating.htm#Animals$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/eng3133 Web site includes resources for heating water forFurther resources animals, including solar-heated tanks.Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. 1991.Field Study of Electrically Heated and Energy Free MiraFount Livestock Water SystemsAutomated Livestock Water Fountains. www.miraco.com/default.aspxwww1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/eng3134 Manufacturer of energy-free livestock watering systems.Alberta Farm Machinery Research Center (AFMRC).1994. Energy Free Water Fountains. Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supplywww1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/ www.murdochs.comeng3133/$ﬁle/706.pdf?OpenElement Source of MiraFount Livestock Water Systems.www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 3